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Region in race against new variant

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By Fiona Reid
Front
Region in race against new variant

COVID cases in Dumfries and Galloway almost doubled in number by the end of last week.

In the last seven days (June 9-16) a total of 56 new cases were recorded in the region, up from 29 the week before.

Numbers of close contacts also increased markedly, rising from 191 to 410.

Commenting today, NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Jeff Ace said: “The new Delta Variant is driving up the number of cases in the region.

“We’ve got a head start on this new strain in terms of getting vaccinations delivered, meaning that those most vulnerable and everyone aged over 50 should have had the chance of receiving both vaccinations.”

He reminded everyone that full immunity takes a few weeks to develop after the second dose, adding: “So we still have some way to go before younger age groups are as well protected.

“We also know that there might be some people who have still to come forward and take up the opportunity. So it’s a race, and while we’re vaccinating as quickly as supplies permit, we really need everyone to help buy us some time, follow the rules and slow the spread of the variant as much as possible.

“If we can hold back the virus from making inroads over the next few weeks as the vaccination programme is in its final stages and immunity builds, we’re pretty confident that we’ll be in a good position locally to avoid another wave of serious illness in our population.”

But cases are rising slowly locally, with a notable cluster in Upper Nithsdale.

However, Mr Ace added: “New cases still remain relatively low, and this is largely thanks to the community’s response, including the uptake of testing, self-isolating, and working with the local Test and Protect Team to identify and intercept chains of transmission.

“The success of the Test and Protect approach in cutting off chains of transmission should give some assurance that we can go about our essential daily lives – like going to work, or going to school.

“We’re getting there in terms of addressing the dangers posed by the coronavirus, and it’s really now just about stalling its spread long enough to buy ourselves enough time that we can get our vaccination programme complete, and provide our region with the highest possible levels of protection.

“For the first time since the pandemic hit the region, I think the finish line is in sight and we just need these final few weeks of effort to get through this safely.”

 

Dumfries and West, Front

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